Grand Rapids has so many fascinating boroughs outside of its metropolitan area, one of which I believe is severely ignored by the people of Forest Hills Eastern. The victim at hand? Eastown.
Located just 12 minutes away from the heart of Ada, Eastown feels like it’s in another world. The neighborhood, which directly borders East Grand Rapids, is considered the premier landing place for many of Grand Rapids’s hipsters. One of the most diverse areas of Grand Rapids, there is a booming and tight-knit African American community, particularly on Wealthy Street and its offshoots. Although recent gentrification has taken over part of the locality, there is still a deep history within the crumbling brick buildings and the antique homes.
The bustling region of Eastown has something for just about everyone. From food to shopping to experiences, Eastown is a hub of activity. So, here are some of my top Eastown recommendations!
Woosah and Outside Coffee Company
These businesses, which are right next door to each other and share an owner, are perfect for nature lovers. Woosah sells hand-made wood prints of various natural scenes, as well as uniquely crafted necessities for hiking, biking, and camping! I love their prints, air fresheners (I know, random), and clothing, all of which are based on the woodworking that the owner and proprietor of the shop do in the studio upstairs. Just next to Woosah is Outside Coffee Co., a super cute coffee shop inside of a really neat redone campervan. Customers eat in a dog-friendly courtyard with year-round hammocks and igloos in the winter! They also have really unique coffee and tea varieties, which change seasonally. 10/10 would recommend stopping at this joint location!
A very hip Mexican restaurant, Donkey Taqueria is known for its tacos and dessert churros, both of which are shockingly good. Although it is pricey, the ambiance is unparalleled, right down to the ability to enjoy your tacos in a winter igloo. The chips and salsa are excellent, and though the menu is small, there are many different options for those with allergies or diet restrictions!
The only way that I can describe Rebel is by saying that it is very Harry Styles-esque. Filled with bright colors, patterns, and language, this shop sells almost everything that one could want in their home! They have earrings, stickers, plants, signs, mugs, and prints, all of which support women and are just hilarious. Who doesn’t want a keychain depicting a crying toad?
Commune calls itself a “west coast store,” and this west coast-er agrees! It has a very earthen feel, complete with terracotta pots and an exuberant amount of plants for those pots. Lots of photos of beaches and deserts, all of which would immediately elevate any space. This place also happens to be owned by the people who own Rebel!
Brown Butter Creperie and Cafe
Brown Butter Creperie and Cafe are perfect for those who may like a more boujee feel. The restaurant, which is open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm is situated inside a building that looks like a Dutch windmill. They offer both sweet and savory crepes, which are both super good. My only complaint about this lovely establishment would be that it’s expensive, with each crepe being about $13. However, they are gluten-free and filling, so I’d say you get your money’s worth!
I love Eastown and all of the cool shops and restaurants that make it the diverse and interesting place that it is. One final reminder before you depart to this area of town: the majority of Eastown closes down on Mondays, so plan accordingly!